Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is currently suspended for 6 games. That suspension could be and likely will be reduced to 4 games after pre-season. So for at least 4 games either Dennis Dixon or Byron Leftwich will be the Steelers Quarterback.
The Steelers schedule through the first 6 games isn’t very hard so that could help this team in the long run. They play the Falcons, Titans, Bucs, Ravens, and Browns. Atlanta could be a tough game as well as the Ravens. Aside from that the schedule is pretty easy. I see them going 5-1 through this stretch without Big Ben.
The Steelers get their leader back for a tough stretch where they will play teams such as the Saints, Bengals, Ravens, Patriots, and Jets.
Look for the Steelers to depend on Rashard Mendenhall early in the season. He rushed for 1,108 yards last season despite not getting many carries until week 4. He had 240 carries in 2009. Look for that to go over 300 this season. I would not be surprised if he rushed for over 1,400 yards.
Pittsburgh also has other weapons like Hines Ward, Heath Miller, and Mike Walker I don’t see the Steelers struggling too much. They just signed Flozell Adams and drafted Maurkice Pouncey so their biggest weakness has improved. Adams is expected to play Right Tackle instead of Left Tackle like he played in Dallas. I think this could make him even better.
The Steelers have always been known for their great defense. Last year the injury to Madden Curse victim Troy Polamalu derailed their season. This season the team should have no problem returning to form. The secondary will be much improved with Polamalu returning and the additions of Bryant McFadden and Will Allen. I would be shocked if the Steel Curtain is not one of the top 3 defenses in the NFL.
So looking over the team’s schedule I could see them going 12-4. I see them splitting the season series with both the Bengals and the Ravens. I also see them losing to my Super Bowl picks the Saints and Jets. The 12-4 record will easily get them in the playoffs. A likely rematch with the Jets could await them at some point during the playoffs.